Metagame Update: Week 7

by Looter-Scooter

The Winners and Losers of Week 6

Two new decks gained popularity last week: Rakdos Artifacts and Esper Control. Rakdos utilizes many new cards from Kamigawa such as Oni-Cult Anvil Oni-Cult Anvil Oni-Cult Anvil and Fable of the Mirror-Breaker Fable of the Mirror-Breaker // Reflection of Kiki-Jiki Fable of the Mirror-Breaker // Reflection of Kiki-Jiki to create a powerful sacrifice engine, similar to the Cat Oven decks of past Standard formats. Unfortunately, the deck did not perform well. All 3 of its pilots lost their match, putting the deck at an 0-3 record. Esper Control however, did quite well. This new take on Orzhov Midrange cuts the sacrifice package of Shambling Ghast Shambling Ghast Shambling Ghast and Deadly Dispute Deadly Dispute Deadly Dispute for Kaito Shizuki Kaito Shizuki Kaito Shizuki and Doomskar Doomskar Doomskar . This small variation proved worthwhile, as the deck had a 3-1 record last week. Orzhov Midrange also did well, going 5-1. The Orzhov shell in general has proven to be a great option for the metagame, especially when it can be tuned to beat a specific deck you know your opponent will play. The other big winner of last week was Naya Runes with a 4-1 record. Runes is a deck that has fluctuated a lot in popularity from week to week, but has remained mostly consistent in its win rate.

Along with Rakdos, Selesnya Midrange had a record of 0-3. This deck has flown under the radar for most of the season, though it has performed fine in past weeks. The deck uses Esika's Chariot Esika's Chariot Esika's Chariot and Starnheim Unleashed Starnheim Unleashed Starnheim Unleashed to overpower opposing decks in the mid to late game. The problem is while this plan works against the aggro decks, it struggles to deal with Jeskai Storm, Jeskai Hinata, or Orzhov/Esper as those decks can shrug off Selesnya’s big threats and present their own, more powerful ones. The other notable underperformer of the week was Mono White, which went 3-5. Mono White has been one of the most popular decks every week of the season, and has had a consistently solid record. The deck is surprisingly hard to beat, as the normal plan of “play a bunch of sweepers and removal” that’s good against other aggro decks isn’t enough here. Mono White still has strong threats later in the game such as The Wandering Emperor The Wandering Emperor The Wandering Emperor or Legion Angel Legion Angel Legion Angel . While it was an underperformer last week, I expect it to adapt and evolve for future weeks.

This Week’s Decks

The big newcomer for this week is Azorius Aggro. At its core, this is a Mono White deck that splashes for a few key blue cards. March of Swirling Mist March of Swirling Mist March of Swirling Mist , Spectral Adversary Spectral Adversary Spectral Adversary , and Otawara, Soaring City Otawara, Soaring City Otawara, Soaring City clear out any blockers or can stop a big attack while Malevolent Hermit // Benevolent Geist Malevolent Hermit // Benevolent Geist Malevolent Hermit // Benevolent Geist , Spell Pierce Spell Pierce Spell Pierce and Test of Talents Test of Talents Test of Talents provide good counterspells in post-board games. Interestingly, all 3 Azorius Aggro players are playing Archon of Emeria Archon of Emeria Archon of Emeria , a card absent from all but 1 of the Mono White decks. Archon is excellent against Runes, as it slows down the deck by limiting it to one spell a turn, which shuts off Runes’s best card advantage spell Showdown of the Skalds Showdown of the Skalds Showdown of the Skalds and its ability to chain multiple runes together in one turn.

Other notable changes this week include 3 more decks falling into the “Other” category (decks with only 1 player) and 3 more Naya Runes decks compared to last week. Orzhov Midrange lost 2 decks, while Esper Control and Rakdos Artifacts each gained 1. As we move into the playoffs, it’ll be interesting to see how the metagame changes.